Regional

Gov't has no intention of making the SOE permanent in St James, says Dr Chang

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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CORAL GARDENS, St James - National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, has told residents in the Carol Gardens community, that Government has no intention of making the State of Public Emergency a permanent feature in the parish of St James.

At recent meeting in the community with the national security minister, who is also the member of parliament for the area, the residents called for the enhanced security measures, which has been in force since January 18, to be a permanent fixture in the parish. Last month, Parliament voted to extend the measure for another 90 days.

One resident said that since the state of public emergency, she has been able to sleep comfortably at night.

She argued that before the measures, residents in the community, which has a significant number of returning residents, were living in fear because of criminals.

“Robberies and hold-ups were common features in the community before the implementation of the state of public emergency,” she stressed.

“We are now sleeping well at nights and at least, we can leave our doors open during the days. We can also carry out our recreational activities such as jogging and early morning walks,” she added, while calling for the enhanced security measures to be a permanent feature in St James.

Dr Chang then pointed out that his administration is working on other security initiatives that will make the country safe.

“While I understand the level of security assurance the State of Public Emergency brings to your lives, it can't be permanent. We (the Government) are developing other security measures that we expect to negatively impact the crime monster and displace criminal elements”, he stressed.

He further informed the residents that their security is being given priority attention, as he reiterated the Government's intention to establish a permanent base of the Mobile Reserve at the Montego Hills Police Station, which he noted, is a short distance from their community.

He added that the Coral Gardens Police Station is soon to get another service vehicle, which will allow for more community-based policing.

He pointed out too, that the ongoing major road improvement projects in St James, will give the security forces easier access in patrolling the various communities in the parish.

It is argued that the state of public emergency has contributed significantly to the reduction of murders in St James, where there were 315 homicides last year.

During the period January 1 to July 21 this year, there were 55 murders in the parish, which reflects a 67. 3 per cent decrease, when compared with the corresponding period in 2017.

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